Flick or Skip: I Am Number Four (Opening 18 February 2011)

I Am Number Four is a teen-aimed science fiction film based off of the young-adult novel of the same name by Pittacus Lore (really Stephen Frey and Jobie Hughes). Off of that trailer alone, I would undoubtedly want to see the film.

There's always a but when it comes to marketing a non-cookie-cutter film, isn't there? After the initial trailer (almost instantly), a new set of trailers came out, focusing on the romance aspect of the story.

If I had seen that trailer first, I would still be interested in seeing the film. The issue becomes this: what kind of film is I Am Number Four? Is it being marketed like Twilight to increase the potential market, or will it be filmed and plotted just like Twilight to meet that audience's expectations? Are we getting the film of the first trailer or the second trailer?

Let's analyze this based on the trailers alone.

The first trailer chooses to tell its story entirely with voice over, which is a blessing for the film. The second trailer displays some questionable dialog in the last minute and--as unfair as it is to judge based off so little footage--I am not feeling the chemistry between Number Four and Blonde High School Girl. I actually remember guessing with my brother that maybe Number Four winds up with Number Seven because their few scenes together felt more alive than the scenes with the Blonde High School Girl. The trailer also put so much emphasis on Blonde High School Girl that we've become convinced she's either Number Five or Number Nine and was plotting all along to join forces with the others.

The film seems to have a lot of explosions and running. Is this in place of plot development beyond the interesting number conceit? I can't tell. I think it looks like more is happening in the first trailer that is hidden in the second, but the second trailer reveals more of the plot points. It's hard to read.

The music used in the trailer is solid, if predictable, for this kind of sci-fi film. But will that be the actual score in the film? And will the score be cranked so loud the only thing that rises above it is an explosion in every chase scene?

In spite of all these concerns, I think it might be worth testing the waters with I Am Number Four. The worst case scenario is you have a new film to blame for the pandering attempts to play to the minimal standards of youth culture. The best case scenario is someone let a smart little teen-angled sci-fi thriller get through the Hollywood machine. Either way, it'll be something to talk about.

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